Don’t Stop Blushing!

One of my favorite posts! May we never lose our blush! May our children never lose their blush!

O be careful little eyes what you see.

There’s a Father up above

And He’s looking down in love

So, be careful little eyes what you see.

The song goes on to say: Be careful what you hear, do, where you go and what you say.

What a sweet song for little children, but what an incredibly strong message for all of us from the Word of God.

In Ezra 9, God’s people had lost their blush.  Sin didn’t disturb them anymore. God’s people were hanging out with the wrong crowd and had learned their ways. They had forgotten God was watching, or maybe they didn’t care.

What did one man do? “I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.” Ezra 9:5, 6 What a prayer of humble repentance! “Lord, let this be me.”

Whenever we had a standard in our home, we made sure our children knew the standard was because “God said it, that settles it, we will do it”.  A bunch of rules without reason sets a child up for rebellion. Children will become weary hearing, “Because I said so!” Teach children, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you.  As we get to know God through His Word, He sends us His message, so we can apply it to our lives.”

Families are in danger of losing their blush! Why? Ezra 9:1 “The people…have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their
abominations…”

Monitor the TV~
Monitor the TV~

1.  Is our family losing their blush because of what they see on TV? I am not advocating taking the TV in the backyard and beating it with bats into a million pieces, then burying it.  The solution may be to monitor the TV and invest in a TV guardian and Clearplay.

2.  Is our family losing their blush by hanging out with the wrong crowd?  Even Christians can become worldly. Brandon, our son said that the main reason he did not go through teen rebellion was because we made sure he had good friends.  “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners (morals).” 1Co 15:33

3.  Is our family losing their blush by what they view on the computer? One way our family solved the computer issue was by placing the computer where all could see what the person using it was doing.

Nothing was done in secret in our home. Brandon and his Dad, together made a covenant with their eyes. “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” Job 31:1

4.  Is our family losing their blush by listening to inappropriate music? When the people of the Bible cleansed their home, revival took place, and people were saved.  Our children were saved before the ages of seven, praise God.  Sure makes it easier on Mom and Dad when children have the Holy Spirit living within. It is the wise parent who daily prays for the salvation of their children.

Let us all be careful about what we see, hear, and do.  Let us all be careful about what we say and where we go.  Why? Our Father is watching, and we want to live to make Him smile.

Don’t stop blushing!

A 15 Minute Family Lesson For Independence Day

Lalanne Beale Barber put together a beautiful Independence Day album and gave me permission to post it on my website. The title is “America’s Freedom.”

Before we celebrate today, this 4th of July, let us take about 15 minutes to read this post together as a family. Let us not forget!

Born of the desire for freedom, its 52 signers pledged “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” as they affixed their signatures to the Declaration of Independence.

 

MinutemenThe Minutemen bore the responsibility of the first charges at Concord & Lexington.

 

4th of July

The gentleman farmer left his beloved home to answer his nation’s call to command the first American army.

 

Flag

A new flag for a new nation.

 

Continental Army

 The Continental Army took on the most powerful nation in the then-known world.

 

George Washington

 General Washington cared deeply for his troops, even to the giving of his stores from Mount Vernon, and sustaining them with his personal attention.

 

Washington Praying in the snow

 The ragged, starving Continentals survived the winter of ’78 at Valley Forge, largely through their admiration of their commander and the goodness of God in answering their prayers.

 

America

The dream was born long before, on another shore, in another country, in other hearts that longed to be free to worship the God of their fathers.

Liberty

Liberty was proclaimed throughout the land in 1783.

Mount Rushmore

Our Founding Fathers and those who came after them procured the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity.

Soldiers

The Greatest Generation paid the greatest price to secure freedom for many peoples of the world.

Liberty~

“In New York Harbor, stands a Lady
With a torch raised to the sky.
And all who see her know she stands for
Liberty for you and me…”
Statue of liberty

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me—
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Holy Bible-Flag

The foundation of the laws of the new nation was built firmly upon God’s laws found in His Word.
Eagle

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
American flag

“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Yes, for now—and may it ever be!

Pray~

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

 

Celebrate

Celebrate freedom! Celebrate liberty! Celebrate America!

American flag fireworks

Three cheers for the Red, White, and Blue!

God keep America free!

Homeschool: God’s Best For Our Family (Part 5)

To the right is one of my favorite family pictures.  I do wish we had taken more professional family pictures.  I will pass that wish on to you, young mothers, so you will do better than me in that area.

This is part five, and the final unedited copy of our magazine article, published as a result of a pastor writing a negative article in a Christian magazine stereotyping homeschool parents and homeschool children. This pastor falsely believed that all homeschool families going to his church and other churches should put their children in their local church school.

The pastor wrote, “Homeschooling breeds an isolationist attitude. Some parents refuse to send their child to a Christian school for fear that their child may have to face some mistreatment by either the students or the teacher. Your child needs mistreatment by both peers and authority, or how will they learn to deal with relationships and be responsible in a real world outside your home? When homeschool children become older, their weaknesses (which are their parent’s weaknesses) and lack of people skills become more obvious… ”

My thoughts on this article:

1. I encourage homeschool families to be in a local church that is biblically sound and homeschool friendly. Prayer is the key to finding just the right church God has for your family. The father, not the pastor, will give an account before God for his family. God will reveal to the parents, His perfect will for his family through prayer, Scriptures and by His peace. With homeschooling, God revealed His will to me first; I immediately shared with my husband what the Lord had shown me. Barry instantly had peace from God and knew we were to homeschool.

school
Typical classroom with same age peers

2. The devil blinds people. The devil is called, “the accuser of the brethren” and is behind this type of thinking. Why else would people think a classroom of 25 same-age peers sitting in lined-up desks is the real world? How many times do we encounter that situation again after we graduate from college? The pastor of the article said that children need mistreatment, so they need to be sent to school. What? Some people live their entire lives trying to get over unnecessary abuse from peers and teachers. He falsely stated “Homeschooling breeds an isolationist attitude, and homeschoolers lack people skills,” when the truth is: Homeschooled children are known for their incredible people skills.  Most homeschooled children communicate well with all ages, including adults, because they interact with all ages and are not isolated into peer group settings.

Because our pastor was concerned about this negative article stereotyping homeschool families, he encouraged us to contact the editor, which we did. After talking to my husband, the editor had a better understanding of homeschool families and apologized for the negative article, saying, “I am sorry. I did not know.”

Part 5

The good ole days~our children have always been a joy!
The good ole days~our children have always been a joy!

The following Scriptures spoke to my heart about homeschooling:

Titus 2:3-5 states that a wife, who is a mother, is to be a keeper (guard) at home.  What is a mother to be guarding at home if her children are away at school?  I Timothy 5:14 says a wife is to “bear children, guide the house…”  Who is the mother guiding in the home, if no one is there?

Our homeschool day began with a disciplined schedule.

Barry reading his Bible with Melinda in his lap~so precious!
Barry reading his Bible with Melinda on his lap~so precious!

6:00-7:00 The children got dressed and had their personal Quiet Times. We asked them what the Lord showed them in their Quiet Times, because it is important for children to personally experience God. Proverbs 8:17 “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”

7:00-7:30 Barry consistently led the family in Bible reading and prayer every day before he left for work.  This consistency in reading God’s Word and praying as a family within the home was the reason Melinda gave as to why she never rebelled.

7:30-8:00 The children had a daily checklist which included household duties.  We all live in the home, so we all worked to keep it organized, clean and uncluttered.

8:00- After I (mother) shared something special about the Lord with the children, each child had an academic checklist for the school year, tailored to their age.

We teamed up with other like-minded families to co-op once a week as we learned history, Science and Spanish together in an exciting way. One year, our family, along with several other families helped our children produce an elaborate play on the life of Christ as an out-reach to the community. Each year of homeschooling was an exciting adventure for our family.

By 1:30 or 2:00 p.m., our school day was usually completed.

Melinda, our daughterWe were part of a homeschool program called Advanced Training Institute (ATI),and in the evenings we planned family time around the Wisdom Booklets which focused on a Godly character quality each month.  Our family also enjoyed gathering around the living room to read a biography together of someone whose life had exemplified the Godly character quality we had been studying. One day, Melinda was asked this question, “If you could give one reason as to why you never rebelled, what reason would you give?”  Without hesitation, Melinda said, “My Dad daily led the family each morning in Bible reading and prayer.”  Families need consistency in doing what counts for eternity. We credit ATI for encouraging my husband to take this leadership role in our family.

siblings singing

An advantage to homeschooling our children was the time element involved; more time was available to pursue personal interests such as music, art, computer or minister together in the community. There was no homework and we did not watch much television, so evenings were free to spend with Dad. The highlight of the afternoon was when our household looked forward to “Daddy” returning home from work. I made sure we were home at that time of the day.  At 5:00 p.m., “Daddy’s home!” excitedly rang out all over the house.  The race was on to see who would welcome Daddy home first.  Our dog usually won the race.

Because of homeschooling, our children’s hearts were toward us, and they cared about what we cared about.  Kristen, Brandon and Melinda each trusted the Lord at a young age and they were each saved at home.

When asked why they never rebelled:

1. Melinda: #1 reason~ “My Dad daily led our family in Bible reading and prayer within our home.”

2nd reason: After a little extra thought, Melinda added, “My parents were real and not hypocrites. I watched them walk with the Lord both within the home and outside the home.”

Our family2. Brandon said, “The number one reason I did not rebel was because my parents encouraged me to hang out with nice friends.

3. Kristen said that having a good and close relationship with her parents kept her from rebelling. See Special Time With Mom~

roseWe were in God’s perfect will for our family when we homeschooled. Our children not only desired to please us, they desired to please the Lord.  We cannot thank the Lord enough for what He has done!

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  3 John 1:4

Homeschool: God’s Best for Our Family (Part 4)

The photo is of our family many years ago…time has flown~

After reading the negative magazine article written by a pastor that stereotyped homeschool parents and children, I felt compassion for the homeschool families who attend churches where the pastor is not “on board” with their God-given walk plankdecision. The family is made to feel like they are “walking the plank” to destruction. The pastor who authored the article said, “The family that rejects the local church school ministry will be destroyed.” This statement makes me so sad for families who are taught this lie. For this reason, my husband and I spoke to the editor and wrote our story.

Homeschool families need encouragement in their God-given decision. Churches should encourage families to be strong in the Lord and to be “father led” families. The father must give an account before the Lord for his family, not the pastor.

Getting counsel is wise, but praying about that counsel to see if it lines up with the will of God for one’s family is extremely wise. We got advice from our Pastor on several issues. He helped us in so many decisions, but he did not fault us when we did not take his advice. It is alright to politely say “Thank you for your counsel, but after prayer, God is leading our family in another direction.” I always tell people that I counsel, to pray about my advice, and throw it out, if they don’t have peace about the advice. Counsel should be given to help people, not to control them. I have found that one key to failure is trying to please everyone. Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guarantee to miss God’s plan for one’s life.

With our decision to homeschool, some well-meaning people sat Barry and I down at a table to try to talk us out of homeschooling. They said, “Don’t homeschool! You will ruin your children!” We finally said, “Talk to God about it, and if He changes our minds, then we won’t homeschool.”  God never changed our minds.  Many years later, one of those at the “round table,” regretfully told me that they should have homeschooled and maybe things would have turned out differently for their family.

Here is Part 4 of the unedited copy of the article that Barry and I wrote for the Christian magazine.

I cannot imagine the journey of my life without Jesus! I think my life would have been a mess. I would not have met my wonderful husband at a Bible Study. I would not have homeschooled, because I would not have sought God’s wisdom and direction.

Because of the Lord, our homeschool years turned out to be extremely fulfilling years.  It meant everything to me to keep our children from rebelling and going down a destructive path.  We live in desperate times, so our family needed to take drastic measures. Homeschooling was that drastic measure.

The magazine article stereotyping all homeschool families falsely stated, “Homeschooling hinders the maturing process of the child.”

In response, I wrote about how our Pastor was encouraged by the maturity level of our children. He asked Melinda, our youngest daughter to teach fourth grade Melinda~church pianistSunday school children when she was only fourteen. Our Pastor said that he normally would not allow someone as young as Melinda to teach Sunday school, but because of her spiritual maturity, he made an exception. Melinda, became the church pianist at age seventeen after the former church pianist, her sister, married and moved.

Because of visiting the bus kid’s homes, Melinda told us how grateful she was to have us as parents.  Some of the bus kids came from homes where the Dad was in jail, the mom was a prostitute, the parents were drug addicts and so on. From serving these children, Melinda came to appreciate the home God put her in. Her investment in these children’s lives was fruitful as many of these bus kids trusted Jesus (and some are doing very well today as adults).

The Lord has blessed Melinda with the gift of teaching. She teaches piano and art

Melinda~I joke about how I allowed Melinda to write on our walls as a child. She painted beautiful murals in our home.
Melinda~I joke about how I allowed Melinda to write on our walls as a child. She painted beautiful murals in our home.

in the home and enjoys serving others with hospitality. One of our favorite qualities of Melinda is her consideration and thoughtfulness of us and others.

We went to a church that encouraged our family to serve together and allowed us to worship, sitting together as a family in the service. Many times a teen or two, who rode the bus to church sat with our family during the service. They needed to feel like they were part of a family, since their parents did not come to church.

We taught our son and daughters the principle: investing in people is important

to God according to 1 Corinthians 3:6-9.

We wanted them to develop a heart for the lost and missions.We took many

Melinda, passing out necessities and Gospel tracts while the people were looking through a garbage dump in Mexico.
Melinda, passing out necessities and Gospel tracts while the people were looking through a garbage dump in Mexico.

family mission trips to foreign countries. Do we have exciting stories to tell about these mission trips! Many people were saved, praise God!

Our family conducted Bible Clubs in neighborhoods, nursing homes

Melinda, teaching the Bible in the daycare which was run by an atheist... God is awesome!
Melinda, teaching the Bible in the daycare which was run by an atheist… God is awesome!

and daycares.

One daycare owner said, “I really don’t know why I allow you to come every summer to teach the Bible, because I am an atheist.” I can remember feeling shocked and in awe as I thought, “Thank you, Lord!” Many got saved and the atheist sat in while we taught God’s Word.

The negative article that stereotyped homeschool families was written by a pastor who had homeschooled a short time for the reason of convenience. He then started a Christian school at his church, and thought all the homeschool families going to his church should put their children in the church Christian school. This pastor stated, “The acid test for every parent in determining God’s will concerning your child’s education is found by answering one question. Have you counseled with your pastor?…I oppose any institution (homeschool) which pits itself against the church….”

This pastor then misquoted Hebrews 13:17 as meaning he was supposed to rule in the lives of his congregation and they were to obey his counsel, (like puppets). A pastor, who correctly interprets Hebrews 13:17, will compare Scripture with Scripture, (as our Pastor did) and teach Hebrews 13:17 means we are to obey the Word of God that pastors preach. (See Titus 1:3)  We obey the Word of God, not the Pastor’s opinion.

Of course, homeschoolers are not against the church because they do not send their children to a church school! Homeschooling families need the encouragement of their pastor; they are not institutions pitting themselves against the church. God may lead a family to put their children in a Christian church school or to homeschool.  Through much prayer, the parents will get direction. I am grateful to have had a pastor who taught that God gives direction to a family through the father. Our pastor states that God does not send him a parent’s mail.

According to God’s Word, the responsibility for educating one’s children was given by God to the parents.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 gives the parent the command to teach God’s words diligently to his children. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Spurgeon said, “To teach our children is a personal duty; we cannot delegate it to Sunday School teachers or other friendly aids.”

I am glad we did not follow the advice of those who sat us around the table trying to talk us out of God’s will for our family. It was hard to listen to, “Don’t homeschool! You will ruin your children!” That was a difficult time for me. I have a deep desire for approval from others, and the feeling of being looked down upon is awful. I am not only referring to the decision to homeschool; I am referring to any God-led decision. Have you ever made a decision where you knew deep down in your heart that you were in the center of God’s will, but you also felt hurt, because others misunderstood or disapproved?

roseI write this next statement for myself and for those who know they are doing God’s will, but feel hurt from the disapproval and misunderstanding of others: Let us never allow our desire of approval to override God’s will for our family. Amen?

Homeschool: God’s Best For Our Family (Part 3)

My Dad, Mother and my Husband~Thankful Me!
My Dad, Mother and my Husband~Thankful Me!

What a wonderful Father’s Day with our children yesterday! We went to church where our son-in-law is the Pastor and heard excellent preaching from the Bible. Our children treated us out to eat at a restaurant with both atmosphere and good food. Then we all went home for a needed nap and got back together in the evening for some more fun and fellowship until 1:30 A.M. Faithful fathers are so important to the family and much honor is due to them. I am thankful for the fathers in my family; my Dad, my husband, the father of our children. I am thankful for our son and son-in-law! They are all faithful, God fearing Dads!

One of my favorite things about homeschooling was taking the best field trips ever! We went on a fantastic field trip every month. The photo at the top right is of our vacation to Washington D.C. We took vacations once a year, but I considered this vacation a field trip…don’t all homeschool moms?

A Christian magazine published a negative article written by a pastor, who stereotyped homeschool families.  Our pastor, who also homeschooled, told us, “They need to know about you and your family!” We contacted the editor, who, after a lengthy conversation, apologized for the negative article about homeschooling and homeschoolers. He asked us to write about our homeschool, so we did. It was published in 2006. Here is Part 3 of the unedited copy.

Brandon, passing out a Gospel Tract on a mission trip!
Brandon, passing out a Gospel Tract on a mission trip!

Brandon, our son, served as Sunday School teacher, helped with special music and soul winning/visitation and he developed the website in our local church.  Brandon, at age fifteen, started a successful home business of building and selling computers and computer parts. His bedroom turned into a computer warehouse.  He was shipping parts and computers he had built all over the country. The people who worked at the post office would comment to me regarding Brandon’s politeness, and how it was a pleasure doing business with him. At an early age, Brandon made a covenant with his eyes (Job 31:1).

One of my favorite character traits about Brandon was his good nature. When asked by us to do something, even if it was inconvenient, he would immediately stop what he was doing and do what was asked of him with a good attitude.

One comment in the negative magazine article stereotyping homeschool mothers and homeschooled sons was this statement: “Homeschooling makes it more difficult for both junior and mother to let go.”

My thoughts: There is a very small margin of homeschool parents who have trouble “letting go,” but the majority of homeschool parents want to work themselves out of a job.

On Brandon’s nineteenth birthday, he left our Louisiana home for a Bible College

Brandon, driving across the country to a Bible College in California! Cooling off the car~
Brandon, driving across the country to a Bible College in California! Cooling off the car~

in California.  Brandon worked full time, by choice, to pay his own way through college.  He did not want his parents to pay for his college education, but chose to be responsible for the total cost. When God led our son to Bible College, on the other side of the country, we had no trouble “letting go.” As I write, Brandon is 2,170 miles from home, a 34 hour drive, and we are at peace with this decision.  Why? It was the will of God for Brandon.  We never want to hinder our children from being in the center of God’s will.

Another choice nineteen year old Brandon made when away at college was to call home almost every day.  He looked forward to talking to us.  He wanted to know

Barry and I visited Brandon in CA while he was at Bible College.
Barry and I visited Brandon in CA while he was at Bible College.

what we were doing, seek counsel from us and keep us informed on what was going on in his life.  I think more sons would keep in close touch with their parents and be transparent if parents worked on having a healthy Godly relationship. It takes work. Homeschooling afforded us this luxury of being a close family even when our children left the nest. We are so blessed!

We visited the Bible college Brandon attended and his teacher shared with us, “When I go home in the evenings, I tell my husband what a nice young man Brandon is, how he is so happy, and how he smiles constantly.”

Siblings Singing in Church
Siblings Singing in Church

Brandon’s life verse is Ecclesiastes 12:13.  “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”  

The next part was not included in our magazine article. I just wanted to share with you a tender moment between a father and his homeschooled son.

When Brandon was younger and soccer practice had ended, Barry picked him up.  Brandon ran to his Dad to give him a big hug.

Barry told Brandon, “I love how you come give me a big hug when I haven’t seen you all day. Son, there may come a time when you might not want to hug me in public.  I hope that never happens.”

Brandon, looking surprised, said, “Dad, why would I not want to hug you in public?”

Barry said, “Well, you may be embarrassed in front of your friends.”

Brandon, with a quizzical look, replied, “Dad, why wouldn’t I want to hug you in front of my friends?”  The statement seemed to be beyond his understanding.

Fast forward: When Barry visited Brandon after he had been in Bible college for a year, Brandon was hanging out with a

Brandon met his bride at Bible college and they have three children. Brandon built their 4 year old son his first computer.
Brandon met his bride at Bible college and they have three children. Brandon built their 4 year old son his first computer.

group of friends just outside the cafeteria, close to the parking lot, as Barry arrived. Brandon saw his Dad drive up and immediately walked over to him, giving his Dad the biggest, tightest hug ever! Right in front of all of his friends! It never ever occurred to Brandon to be embarrassed to hug his Dad in front of peers.

I am ending this post in tears of joy just thinking about that hug! We are blessed, blessed, blessed…and I am thankful, thankful, thankful!